For starters, I do not live in San Clemente, nor am I even a California native. But one thing has been very true since I first heard the Beach Boy’s harmonious vocals coo “Surfin’ U.S.A” from my cassette tapes: I am a surfer.
Rollin’ your eyes yet?
Yep, I am just another one of those inlanders crowding your beaches and now, surf spots.
Or maybe I’m just an adventure freak...
But, enough about me, let’s talk surf.
The eight years that I’ve lived in Southern California have given me the opportunity to understand many different breaks throughout the left coast. Although I can’t call it my “home break” yet, it is nevertheless, my absolute... my “go-to” spot.
Trestles is the gold rush of 1849 replayed every summer, sans picks, pans and funny hats, but plus perfect waves and perfect crowds. Like sharks hunting for prey, the crowds are out there waiting for that big juicy Trestles wall to rip in to. People come from all over the world to surf these few miles of peaks and on my small travel scale, I don’t blame them.
Surfers seem to have a sixth sense for buoy bumps and surf gossip. All it takes is one person who whispers to his buddy about the stellar session he had at Lowers with only five guys out and glassy chest- to head-high peaks. A day later, parking becomes impossible and every type of surfer with any type of board is seen sprinting across Cristianitos to the trail yelling “Eureka!”
I have surfed and made friends with people from Maine to North Carolina and down to Florida. Their stories of surfing their homebreaks are mostly the same, so they make the 3,000 mile trek because they’re probably tired of hearing it from their good friends at Surfline.com.
“The waves are just so consistent and perfect here!”
Ironically, East Coast surfers seem to be more polite in the wave etiquette scene.
Crowds are inevitable, and though it is frustrating for any surfer, I find the constant bombardment of different surf cultures clashing at Trestles to be entertaining. A guy might be dropping in on his wave, but you might not know it until the nose of his board is about to shish kabob your rear end.
And I usually can’t tell if surfers who are constantly paddling around the lineup at Lowers are trying to assert their dominance or just trying to stay warm.
I have yet to have my leash tugged or have some one push me off a wave, but I found it hysterical when an intimidating man told me that my friends and I need to go home and we were not welcome to surf Uppers. I was quite perplexed as I was surfing alone, but gathered he had mistaken me to be with a large group of aggressive Brazilian surfers.
He later apologized profusely.
No matter the crowd, at the end of the session, what really matters is the "fun factor." Despite the conditions, I find surfing to be very similar to a bartender’s evening: you never know who you are going to meet and what they’re going to say, another reason why being a surfer is so fun.
As the summer draws to a close, the crowd’s stranglehold over my favorite break is about to be semi-released, and I am happy I can find my own gold with a little more peace and quiet.
Now, about that cold water...